The Way Of It by R. S. Thomas

With her fingers she turns paint

into flowers, with her body

flowers into a rememberance

of herself. She is at work

always, mending the garment

of our marriage, foraging

like a bird for something

for us to eat. If there are thorns

in my life, it is she who

will press her breast to them and sing.


Her words, when she would scold,

are too sharp. She is busy

after for hours rubbing smiles

into the wounds. I saw her,

when young, and spread the panoply

of my feathers instinctively

to engage her. She was not deceived,

but accepted me as a girl

will under a thin moon

in love’s absence as someone

she could build a home with

for her imagined child.


by R. S. Thomas

from  The Way of It (1977)


Song Of The Last Meeting by Anna Akhmatova

My breast grew cold and numb,

But my feet were light.

On to my right hand I fumbled

The glove to my left hand.


It seemed that there were many steps

-I knew there were only three.

An autumn whisper between the maples

Kept urging: ‘Die with me.


Change has made me weary,

Fate has cheated me of everything.’

I answered: ‘My dear, my dear!

I’ll die with you. I too am suffering.’


It was a song of the last meeting.

Only bedroom-candles burnt

When I looked into the dark house,

And they were yellow and indifferent.


– by Анна Ахматова (Anna Akhmatova) (1911, Tsarskoye Selo)

– from Вечер (Evening, 1912), translation by D. M. Thomas